|Title||Amarillo Slim in a World of Fat People|
|Author||Amarillo Slim Preston and Greg Dinkin|
|Year||2003 (paperback 2005)|
|Pros||Very entertaining tales from a Texas road gambler.|
|Cons||Not much actual poker.|
|11||From Arkansas to Texas -- the Making of Amarillo Slim||1|
|27||Serving My Country (and Myself)||2|
|47||If You Want Some Publicity, Set Yourself on Fire||3|
|63||Have I Got a Proposition for You: Titanic, Ruston, Moss, and More||4|
|87||Doyle, Sailor, and Slim: Three Peas in a Pod Who Liked to Book and Bet (but Not Among Themselves)||5|
|111||It Takes a Tough Sonofabitch to Whip Me: Poker and Life as a Texas Road Gambler||6|
|131||A Binion, a Greek, and How Las Vegas Became the Poker Capital of the World||7|
|149||Another Greek, a Thackrey, and the World Series of Poker||8|
|173||Celebrity Has Perks||9|
|187||The River of No Return||10|
|201||Spit and Pull It -- Leading Men and the Super Bowl of Poker||11|
|221||Very Seldom Do the Lambs Slaughter the Butcher -- Getting Fat Overseas||12|
|233||A Rattlesnake, an Alligator, Pablo Escobar, and Another Trip to Idaho When I Almost Didn't Return||13|
|257||The Last Hand||14|
They were friends, although Preston never moved to Las Vegas like Wolford did. Wolford evoked tears reading his poem about Preston at Slim's Poker Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 1992.
The biggest thing that set them apart, and it was a pretty big thing, was that Preston won the WSOP Main Event, while Wolford's best result was second place. Amarillo Slim converted his victory into a tremendous amount of publicity for both himself and poker, appearing on television regularly and becoming the most recognizable poker player in the world for decades. Preston was like Wolford, only bigger, badder, and crazier. And so it is with their two books; Amarillo Slim's autobiography has more interesting stories from his more exciting life.Born as Thomas Preston in Arkansas, by high school he went by his middle name Austin or his nickname "Curly". But when he sprouted straight up to 6'3", he became "Slim". At 16 years old, he met legendary pool hustler Minnesota Fats1
Rudolf Walter Wanderone Jr. called himself "New York Fats" until The Hustler, based on the Walter Tevis novel of the same name, came out in 1961. Wanderone initially sued Tevis for his Minnesota Fats character but eventually realized that he'd benefit much more by actually becoming "Minnesota Fats".
The 1961 Federal Wire Act made it illegal to transmit across state lines any information that could be used to place bets.
Los Angeles Times feature writer Ted Thackrey gets credit for insisting that the event needed to be turned into a tournament. And the 1971 WSOP was indeed a big success because of it. Preston mentions almost in passing that he came in third place, while Jack Straus was the runner-up to Johnny Moss.4
Page 158. This is a very interesting revelation, since there is no source for Puggy Pearson coming in second as CardPlayer, Wikipedia, and Championship Table (page 19) state. It is entirely possible that the confusion arose because Pearson came in second in 1972.
The final eleven pages tell the story of the 1972 World Series of Poker Main Event, whose official $10,000 buyin was half-subsidized by Benny Binion. A dozen players signed up, but four dropped out to keep playing in the lucrative side games. That left five Texans (Moss, Straus, Brunson, Crandell Addington, and Preston) -- a Kentuckian (Pearson), a New Yorker (Jimmy Casella), and a Missourian (Roger Van Orsdale) to battle for two days for the winner-take-all $80,000 first prize.
The game was played without blinds. Antes started at 10 chips, and went up after each pair of players was knocked out. Most of the bustout hands and many other key hands are described in detail. Preston would only publicly state that Brunson "ate something bad" and was bought out for $20,000.5
It has been reported elsewhere that once it got to three-way action, only Preston really wanted the publicity of winning the event, but this rings a little hollow as what was the point of entering a winner-take-all event then?
The book has one short strategy section:
Although Amarillo Slim claims to have helped Kenny Rogers write his famous song, "The Gambler", the story is apocryphal. Don Schlitz wrote the song in 1976, and Rogers had already made the major change from "You gotta know when to hold up, know when to fold up" to "... hold 'em,... fold 'em" before Preston got involved. The next line, which Preston claims to have inspired -- "Know when to walk away, know when to run" -- was already in the song.
Preston also famously defeated top tennis pro and renowned hustler Bobby Riggs in table tennis by stipulating that frying pans would serve as paddles. Once that ruse became known, Amarillo Slim beat a later opponent, a professional table tennis player, by switching to coke bottles. Therein lies the key to a successful prop bet: Preston would practice ahead of time to ensure he had the advantage.